Movie Review: “Regression”, Starring Emma Watson and David Thewlis

Spanish director Alejandro Amenábar is probably best known for the intensely creepy movie The Others, with many hoping his latest movie Regression would be a return for the chilling work he became known for. Starring Ethan Hawke as Detective Bruce Kenner, Regression is set in the small town of Hoyek, Minnesota, in 1990 and follows Angela Gray (played by Emma Watson), who accuses her father of sexually abusing her. Although he has no recollection of doing so, her father John (David Dencik) confesses to the crime and hands himself over to the police. Having never dealt with this before, the department calls in the assistance of Professor Kenneth Raines (David Thewlis), who specializes in regression therapy in order to unlock blocked memories.

What follows is a bizarre series of events taking the movie through a series of different genres, and it is ultimately hard to determine what it is trying to be as it moves from a drama to thriller, a classic whodunit and horror – leaving the audience in a state of bewilderment. Nonetheless, it is gripping stuff, and viewers will no doubt be on the edge of their seats as the investigation twists and turns through a number of different suspects.

The case eventually gets to Kenner who himself starts having nightmares and suffering from extreme paranoia as he begins to suspect everyone in the town of taking part in the Satanic abuse Angela speaks of. Hawke’s portrayal of a man stuck on a downward spiral is the most gripping part of the film, although his mumbling does sometimes make it hard to follow. Watson’s performance is one fans will be looking forward to since it is so vastly different from her previous roles. She makes Angela a vulnerable and devastated teenage girl, tearfully recapping the abuse she has suffered at the hands of her father and other members of the Satanic cult.

While the plot is gripping in parts, we are never completely captivated since the tone and style change constantly, making it a difficult film to get to grips with.

Fancy seeing Emma on the big screen again? Check out our review for her upcoming movie Colonia.